Lebron James Scores Leads to Win Over Raptors

By: Amry

CLEVELAND - LeBron James scored 26 points and did everything Cleveland needed him to in the final minutes, rallying the Cavaliers to a 95-91 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

With Cleveland down by seven, James dished out three assists, grabbed a rebound and scored five points during a 13-0 burst that put the Cavs ahead 90-86. After Fred Jones drained a three-pointer for Toronto, James fed Donyell Marshall for a three to make it 93-89 with 17.9 seconds remaining.

James finished with 10 assists - four in the final 12 minutes.

Rookie Daniel Gibson, making his first career start, made two free throws with 11.4 seconds left to help seal it for the Cavs, who turned up their defensive intensity late after allowing the Raptors too many easy baskets.

Marshall added 19 points, Gibson had a season-high 18 and Eric Snow 12 for Cleveland.

Chris Bosh and Anthony Parker had 18 apiece and rookie Andrea Bargnani added 14 for the Raptors, who had control and an 84-77 lead with 5:13 to go.

That's when James took over.

He picked up three quick assists, two on three-pointers by Damon Jones and Marshall, before driving the lane to draw a double team and passing underneath to Anderson Varejao for an easy layup to put Cleveland up 85-84 with 3:43 left.

James then drove baseline for a dunk, dropped a free throw and scored on another lay-in to make it 90-84 with 2:09 left.

The Raptors went cold from the floor and went 3:04 without a point before Bosh scored and Fred Jones hit a three-pointer to pull them within 90-89. But James found Marshall for Cleveland's 10th three, and Gibson helped put it away at the line.

Gibson's three-pointer in the final second gave the Cavaliers, who trailed by nine in the third quarter, a 68-67 lead entering the fourth.

Coming off a horrible performance at Houston when they scored just 63 points, the Cavaliers managed just 18 in the first quarter and trailed by 10 points when James hit a three-pointer with 6:36 left before halftime.

Cleveland made two more threes, and James scored six points in the final 1:36 - he had 19 in the first half - as the Cavs closed within 47-44 at halftime.

Notes: James still hasn't warmed up to the NBA's new synthetic ball and would welcome back the leather one. On Tuesday, commissioner David Stern said he'll address the players' criticisms with Spalding, the ball manufacturer, and didn't rule out that the league could revert back. ''It wouldn't be hard to make the adjustment,'' James said.

''You can easily fall in love with the leather ball.'' ... Cavs coach Mike Brown is 61-39 in his first 100 games. ... Raptors F Morris Peterson was activated after missing seven games with a partial tear in his left elbow. Peterson played 371 consecutive games before getting hurt against the Cavs on Nov. 22.

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